Cover Versions

The First Cut is the Deepest

Song: The First Cut is the Deepest
Artist: Rod Stewart

Original artists: P P Arnold/Cat Stevens (Yusuf)
I should perhaps start by clearing up why I have listed P P Arnold and Cat Stevens (as
he was known then) as the original artists for this track.
Stevens wrote it, but did not release a version until it was included on his second album.
Instead, in 1967, he sold the song to Arnold whose claim to fame at the time was that
she was an Ikette, a backing singer for Ike and Tina Turner. Stevens asked for the not-
so-princely sum of £30 for the song. In modern money that would be a little more than
£700 (about Thai Bt33,000).

Even at this distance that seems a bit of a steal. Arnold had a substantial hit with the
song, reaching No 18 in the UK.
But a decade later – in 1977 – Rod Stewart had even bigger success with it. Though it
should be pointed out that “First Cut” was released as part of a double ‘A’ side single
paired with I Don’t Wanna Talk About It. The trouble with double ‘A’ sides is that it is
difficult to tell if fans were keen to buy I Don’t Wanna Talk About It and were happy that
it was doubled up with “First Cut” or whether the opposite was true.
It’s probably irrelevant now. What is certain is that the double ‘A’ side went to the top of
the UK charts and stayed there for four weeks.

I have no desire whatsoever to become embroiled in some form of religious argument.
So, can I just say that the decision taken by Cat Stevens in 1979 to step back from the
world of popular music was a big loss to his fans and the industry in general. It was
great when he returned to the pop scene in 2006.

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